Omni sensual

New hotel’s artwork is as much a draw as its location

Omni

‘THUNDERHEAD’ | Gay artist Ted Kincaid’s largest-ever work dominates the new Omni Hotel’s lobby. He’s one of a number of local artists represented throughout the facility. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

“Did you see the gay clouds?” Jeff West asks.
Of course, the clouds themselves aren’t gay — they are, at most, bi-cumulus — but West (who works with Matthews Southwest, the lead developer of the new Omni Hotel in Downtown Dallas) knows that many gay art fans will know just what he’s talking about: The massive, distinctive digital wisps that are instantly identifiable as the work of Ted Kincaid.

Thunderhead 1111 is Kincaid’s largest work to date, and it dominates the lobby of the Omni — a great testament to the inclusion of local artists throughout the property.

Art, in fact, is a key aspect in the design of the hotel; the halls are decorated with unique pieces, as are the individual rooms. In most instances, pieces are for sale. It’s probably a natural progression from being able to buy a hotel robe or slippers, but still a nice one.

Especially because of the Omni’s attention to detail. Meeting rooms in the hotel are named after Dallas neighborhoods and landmarks (enjoy a conference in the Katy Trail room, a reception in the Oak Cliff), and the artwork reflects that, from photos of Deep Ellum to abstract paintings of Bishop Arts.

The building itself is dazzling as well, from the LED lights that decorate the exterior (but do not flood into the rooms) to the graceful lines in the Texas Spice restaurant. You can’t call it a museum, but the Omni is a gallery of a kind, and worth a tour even if you aren’t from out of town.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Youth group opens in Denton

Wat.-Rev-Pam

Rev. Pamela Wat

The LGBTQ youth program in Denton met for the first time on Friday, Oct. 21 at Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The Rev. Pamela Wat reported a good turnout of teens, young adults and adult volunteers.

Beginning Nov. 4, the church will be open every Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for OUTreach Denton. All LGBTQ youth and allies are welcome. Once that meeting becomes established, a Wednesday night gathering once a month may be added.

Wat said that they went through a list of activities that Youth First Texas has done successfully.

“The thing they wanted to do is hear adult coming out stories,” she said.

“For some, that night was the first time they had met an out LGBT person.”

Before the meeting, Wat was worried that the youth who attended would be afraid to talk.

“But they were open, sharing, talking,” she said. “They let their guard down and the healing started immediately.”

The initial group included mostly teens ages 14 through 17. Older students in Denton have GLAD, the college group at University of North Texas.

Wat said she thought most of the teens that attended came from safe environments. She said that some drove themselves, but most were dropped off by parents.

“We need to do more outreach to spread the word without spreading where we might get negative attention,” she said. “We haven’t broken into the school system yet.”

At its first regular meeting, the group will work on fliers and a website.

“At some point, we expect to affiliate with Youth First Texas,” Wat said, “but at this point we’re continuing under the name OUTreach Denton but following the same policies and procedures that YFT sets out.”

Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1111 Cordell St., Denton. Fridays at 7 p.m.

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas